PHP is the software backbone that runs on the hosting server and allows for the execution of code, like a steam locomotive rolling down the tracks. We want to make sure your site continues to run smoothly and efficiently.
What is this update and why should you care?
The official security support for PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.0 officially ended on January 1, 2019. This means that older versions of PHP software have reached their “end of life” so new patches and security fixes will no longer be available.
Some hosting companies, such as WP Engine, will automatically upgrade the PHP version potentially causing issues with your site if there are plugins or code that are incompatible with the latest version of PHP 7.2. WP Engine will update all accounts to PHP 7.2 by March 31, 2019. WordPress recommends PHP 7.3 if your host supports it.
What do you need to do?
We recommend setting up a development environment and processing the upgrade there, this way any issues that are encountered will not affect your live site’s traffic. The live site will be copied to the new development environment where we will update the plugins, theme and WordPress install. Any issues with plugins or code incompatibilities will be addressed, and then the upgraded site will be tested for functionality.
Once we have your approval, we will then update the live site’s version to PHP 7.2 and apply all of the plugin, theme and WordPress core updates to the live site.
What kind of conflicts might arise?
Site plugins may or may not be compatible with PHP 7.2, and fixes for these plugins may depend on whether the plugin author has updated their code to work with PHP 7.2. If the plugin is active on the site and there are compatibility issues with PHP 7.2 we will need to figure out an alternative solution, either by replacing an existing plugin with one that is PHP 7.2 compatible or by finding another way to execute the plugin functionality or code. If there are errors with plugins that are not in use, the fix is simple: the plugin will be removed.
If your hosting company updates to PHP 7.2 and there are active plugins that are not compatible with the latest version, your entire site could be taken down.
Is there any benefit to the upgrade?
The most important benefit to upgrading is having support for the software. The significance of this cannot be overemphasized. Older versions of PHP will cease to have security support and plugins that are not compatible may prevent parts of your site from working.
Additionally, there is a 40 – 60% performance gain with this PHP update. The way assets are threaded and loaded has completely changed and these have been optimized. PHP 7.2 also has increased security along with having greater memory efficiency.
Where can I read more about this?
WP Engine has a PHP 7.2 Upgrade Guide to help explain the upgrade process. You can also view PHP 7.2 FAQs for the most commonly asked questions.
What if I don’t use WP Engine for hosting?
You can check with your hosting provider to see when and if they will update your hosting plan to PHP 7.2. Regardless of your hosting company, we recommend updating to PHP 7.2 to insure speed, security and the integrity of your site.
Contact Us Today to Upgrade Your Site to PHP 7.2
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